Recently I read a comment on someone’s article saying that commenters only left positive things to say so the people they were commenting on would leave positive things on their work as well. I thought that was a bit cynical at first, but then I began to wonder it there was a ring of truth to it. Do we only say good things so that we can get good things back?
I am certainly not going to sit here and say that I have never done that. I know that I have but not for the reasons the individual indicated. Let me explain. I am one of those people who actually read opinion pieces from people with whom I don’t agree.
I have even struck up more than one or two friendships with people who have polar opposite viewpoints from my own. I enjoy reading their work because I’m not arrogant enough to believe that I’m the one who is always right.
I honestly think other people probably have something to teach me and I’m more than willing to listen to what they have to say. Now, in the end, we might still disagree but that’s okay too. I can respect their opinion and praise the quality of their work nonetheless. There is nothing dishonest about that.
Furthermore, my comments aren’t always positive. Many are neutral in nature and some state total disagreement. So if I do go so far as to leave a positive or glowing comment on someone’s work it is for one reason and one reason only. I mean it!
Does that mean the work is flawless? Not necessarily. Does it mean I always agree with it? Certainly not. Does it mean that the work has validity, voice, potential or something else? Absolutely!
Unlike some, I don’t pick about another person’s work, worrying over a misspelled word or improper grammar. I’m not saying that those things aren’t important, mind you. I’m simply saying that someone’s “voice” goes deeper than just those things.
Writers bare their souls when they write. They lay it all out there for the world to see. They open themselves up in a way that a non-writer cannot possibly understand. They are asking or rather begging for a sense of validity.
That is especially true of poets. Think about it for a minute. Poetry is totally subjective. You either like or you don’t. Rereading it or dissecting it really isn’t likely to change your mind about whether or not you like it.
Yes, it can be written a certain way – – free verse or rhyme. It can follow a certain pattern like iambic pentameter. It can be done in a certain style like a haiku. All of that is relevant but without the feeling behind the words used, it has no real meaning.
A poem is a true glimpse into another person’s heart. It is a piece of their living soul. With that being said, then how can it be anything less than valid?
I will admit; however, that I have been guilty of using my speed reading talents from time to time in order to read the some 200 plus writers I try to keep track of. Sometimes I have to go back and read something a second or third time to get every ounce of its meaning before leaving a comment.
Sometimes I also make snap judgments and probably get it wrong. Does that mean my comments are insincere? I hope not because that is one thing I could never stand to be.